The Anaheim Ducks remain the NHL's top team and appear almost unbeatable at home. Their latest win was a 5-2 effort over the Boston Bruins that extends their home streak to 18-0-2.
Even scarier than their unbeaten home streak is that their power play has started to click again. Pay no attention to the stat sheet - Anaheim is #22 out of 30 teams with a tepid 16.2% success rate. Prior to Sunday evening, the Ducks had gone 1 for 34 with the extra man. Against Boston they were 100%, going three for three. Advantage Anaheim.
Add a short handed goal (Anaheim is 4th in the NHL with five shorties), and the Ducks are looking pretty mighty.
If there is a weakness, it seems to be a less than stellar start to games. Once again, the Ducks were outplayed in the first period, outshot 16-3 by Boston. Were it not for Jonas Hiller, who made 30 saves for his 12th win in a row, the Ducks would have fallen behind early, something they have done a lot of lately.
"He kept us in the game, as he did last game in the first period," said coach Bruce Boudreau about his #1 netminder. "He’s 12-0 during this and it’s incredible goaltending when you think of the consistency. Usually, you can play a lot of good games in a row, and then have a clunker, but he hasn’t had a clunker. It’s a real testament to him."
Mathieu Perreault bookended the scoring, getting the first goal of the game at 5:53 of the second period on the power play. His even strength goal at 17:29 of the third period gave him his first multi-goal game this season. Both came with assists from Teemu Selanne, not known for being a set up guy, but doing a darn fine job of it on Tuesday evening.
Power play number two paid off as well for Anaheim, with Corey Perry getting a rebound at 8:29 of the middle frame.
While down a man, the Ducks still managed to score against Tuuka Rask with Andrew Cogliano get the short handed goal at 17:10 to put the Ducks up 3-0. Rask, who only made 15 saves, was not his usual stingy self. A guy who has a 2.05 goals against average and let five goals in is having a bit of a clunker game.
The Bruins did rebound and persevere, showing why they are tops in the Atlantic Division. Daniel Paille put Boston on the board at 19:44 of the second period and Doug Hamilton brought them within one goal at 7:19 of the third.
That was all they could get past Hiller.
They had a great chance to tie up the game on a power play, but an even up call made it four on four. Ryan Getzlaf sent a beauty of a pass to Nick Bonino, who got his 13th of the year at 14:23.
Perreault's final goal was the icing on the cake (and the free wings at Hooters for the 13th time this year).
"We talked about (the power play) a lot," said Perreault. "We wanted to keep it more simple. The goals were nothing pretty. Just guys going to the net and getting shots. It worked for us tonight."
If they keep doing that, those tepid power play stats will only improve and there will be more wins in the wins column.
The Ducks now head out on the road for a brief two game trip to Nashville on Thursday and the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday before returning home to take on the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.